MISENHEIMER, N.C. – Senior Chad Mercado (Orlando, FL) put down a game-high 22 kills hitting .439 as Lees-McRae College took a 3-1 (25-15, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21) victory over Pfeiffer University in the 2011 Conference Carolinas men’s volleyball regular season finale. The Bobcats end their season at 16-10 overall, 5-3 in league play while the Falcons finish 8-14, 0-8.
In the opening set, Mercado’s first kill of the night put Lees-McRae up 9-4 to pull ahead early. After an ace from the Bobcats’ Matt Harpenau (Cincinnati, OH), one of Josh Mahan’s (Victor, NY) team-high 10 kills made it a 15-7 game. Lees-McRae would maintain a healthy lead to the finish of set one as two more kills and a service ace by Mercado helped the visitors to a 1-0 match lead.
In a 9-9 set two, Mercado put the Bobcats up for good with another one of his kills as Lees-McRae would go on to tally the next five-straight points. A throw down by Eric Edelman (Henrietta, NY) and service ace by Drew Burdette (Greer, SC) got the Falcons to within three at 21-18, but a pair of Mercado kills quickly ended set two.
Midway through set three, Pfeiffer grabbed a two-point swing on kills by Mahan and Burdette for a 17-16 advantage. Mahan and Burdette would each put down kills later as Pfeiffer maintained a two-point advantage until a pair of Mercado kills eventually knotted the contest at 21. Coupled with two Bobcat hitting errors, kills by Michael McLaughlin (Aliquippa, PA) and Mahan put the Falcons on the board forcing a fourth set.
Again in the fourth, both teams were neck and neck midway through as a Mercado kill tied the set 15-all until Micah Bortner (Dallastown, PA) put the Falcons back up by one. After a kill from Mercado and ace by Harpenau, Pfeiffer utilized one of its timeouts during a 19-18 Bobcat lead. Out of the timeout, a service error got Pfeiffer back to 19-19 until a pair of John Lucas (Cincinnati, OH) kills put Lees-McRae up for good. A Lucas ace and Mercado kill would end the night at 25-21.
Behind Mercado, Eduardo Gonzales (San Juan, PUERTO RICO) would put down a dozen kills. Dylan Kembre (West Chester, OH) put up 40 assists while libero Chris Flood (Louisville, KY) popped up a game-high 10 digs. For Pfeiffer, Mahan had the only double-digit kill night with 10 while McLaughlin dished out 34 assists. On senior night, senior Kevin Anderson (Greensboro, NC) led the way with nine digs followed by Mark Hess’ (Lebanon, PA) eight.